29 June 2000 | Elizabeth Bellamy
Many UK companies do not stick to their global travel-buying policies, industry experts have claimed, writes Elizabeth Bellamy.
Few firms apply their policies over all areas of their operations, Annika Ortmark-Sellebo, president of Swedish travel company Ortmark Consultants, told the Corporate Travel Forum 2000 conference in London this month.
Cultural differences are one reason for this, she said, adding that "even Norway and Sweden have different attitudes towards travel management".
"Global policies tend to be relatively philosophical and there are can be many interpretations of them, influenced by factors such as local tax law," Ian Hall, chairman of the Institute of Travel Management and a buyer of travel for Unilever, told the conference.
The trend for companies to form global policies was being driven by consolidation in the travel market, with alliances forming between hotel chains, airlines and travel management companies, added Hall.
But firms considering deals with these alliances needed to weigh up the benefits carefully, warned Brigitte Jakubowski, principal at French travel consultancy JK Associates.
Another, more profitable, solution might be to set up global agreements with a firm's travel-management company, she suggested.